Sky

Digital video retail market in the UK

The UK retail market for digital movies has shown steady growth, but has not offset the decline in physical sales. While iTunes remains the UK market leader, Sky is clearly driving the growth with its Buy & Keep offering, backed up with the reassurance of physical product

However, a move away from the collector mentality alongside the growth of a subscription mentality will affect long term prospects. This is not helped by the consumer proposition for digital retail, which remains disjointed, lacks inter-device operability and a clear consumer benefit

Volumes slow, but revenue robust: UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q2 2016

UK residential communications market revenue growth was broadly unchanged at 5% in Q2, despite volume growth continuing to slow across all products, with pricing and fibre adoption helping to boost ARPU

The combination of weakening market growth and an accelerating Virgin Media (on the back of its Project Lightning network extension) is putting pressure on the other operators, all of which were weak in subscriber terms

US and UK: Cord-cutting-shaving-nevering

Cord-cutting has become a major headache for US pay-TV operators in the last three years, while cable network channels face further erosion due to cord-shaving and we now see a rapidly growing population of cord-nevering households that have never taken a pay-TV subscription  

Should we expect it to be only a matter of time for the UK to follow the US? The short answer is no, due to major differences in the pay-TV market infrastructures of the two countries, which leave the UK much less exposed

Sky firing on all cylinders: FY 2016 results

FY 2016 has been an excellent year, with all three Sky markets showing improved performance as Sky delivered 7% revenue growth (5% after adjusting for 2016 being a 53-week year) and 12% increase in operating profit

The success reflects Sky’s commitment to product and service innovation and diversification in an increasingly fragmented marketplace combined with tight control of back office costs and focus on synergies

Mid-form video: Beyond the long and the short of it

Video content is crudely defined. If something is not very short (<10 minutes) then it tends to be considered long-form. But there is a middle ground - one which displays a distinctive combination of characteristics in terms of production, broadcasting and viewing

Mid-form video (between 10 and 20 minutes) has the ability to carry the narrative arcs normally associated with long-form programming, whilst also retaining the snackable and shareable attributes of short-form

Retransmission fees: looking less likely

The DCMS has published the government’s response to its consultation on the balance of payments between television platforms and public service broadcasters, the so-called issue of retransmission fees

One sure outcome is that Section 73 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (CPDA) 1988, which has hitherto protected cable operators (i.e. Virgin Media) from having to pay retransmission fees, is outmoded and will go

Parents and their children online

Cinema, TV and VOD services share in the same ratings regime in the UK, giving parents confidence they can discern content unsuitable for their children.

Risks to children of being exposed to unsuitable content and advertising multiply on the 'open' internet. 

Parental controls supplied by ISPs are key to filtering content and sites, although a unified approach is better 

TV genres and viewing trends over time

TV viewing has one reliable, long term trend: programme genres are watched by consumers at predictable life stages and ages

At a high level, there has been little manipulation of the balance of genres being broadcast. But amongst the sub-genres, editorial optimisation has resulted in an uptick in actual viewing

As the core viewing age of linear television rises, there is an opportunity for broadcasters to leverage this to create the most desirable schedule for their available audience by daypart; with genres that transcend demographics when younger viewers tune in

Sky plays long term with Bundesliga

The award of the match packages in the 2017-21 domestic football rights auction in Germany is probably optimal for Sky (within the “no single buyer” constraint): it will broadcast about eight out of nine weekly fixtures including the top picks, while Eurosport’s package is complementary to Sky’s rather than substitutional

Sky will, however, pay a hefty price, with the new contract costing 80% more than the current one – although the new Bundesliga rights value is not out of line with other Continental leagues

UK broadband, telephony and pay TV trends Q1 2016 - Slowing start to the year

UK residential communications market revenue growth dipped down 2ppts to 4% in Q1 2016, due in roughly equal measure to slowing broadband growth, some one-off benefits in the previous quarter dropping out, and generally weak ARPU likely caused by promotional introductory price discounting

Virgin Media was the only major operator to buck the market trend and accelerate broadband growth, helped by its network extension Project Lightning, and this impact will grow throughout 2016, with the remaining operators squeezed between this and the slowing market

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